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Strong Bad Email #181
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"That gunk is ill."

Gunkiller and his friends ask Strong Bad for suggestions on making a web comic.

Cast (in order of appearance): Strong Bad, Strong Sad, The Cheat, Stinkoman

Places: Computer Room, The Cheat's Computer Room

Computer: Lappy 486

Date: Monday, October 8, 2007

Running Time: 3:34

Page Title: Lappy 486

DVD: strongbad_email.exe Disc Six


[edit] Transcript

STRONG BAD: Strong Bad Email goes down smooth and clean, like gasoline.

{Strong Bad mutters "for not using punctuation" after "Thanks a lot" and pronounces "Gunkiller" as "Gunk-iller".}

STRONG BAD: {typing} Who are you? Gunhaver's evil twin brother? Well I won't be needing your services today; all my gunk is plenty ill already. {clears screen} Web comics are easy, Gunky. They're all about video games, gamernerds, webgeeks, dorknerds, gamewads, nerdgames, webwebs, and elves. So just pick one of those and start tableting! Like the one where the slickly drawn college roommates make nothing but video game inside jokes!

{during the preceding, the scene changes to a shot of a comic titled "Gamerjōx" with two characters, one of whom loosely resembles Strong Bad with black hair and a yellow T-shirt; the other loosely resembles Strong Sad with short blond hair and holding a hand-held video game}

GAMERJōX STRONG BAD: {in Strong Bad's voice, the text appears in speech bubbles above him} Uh, did you try to case mod that meatloaf you're makin'?

GAMERJōX STRONG SAD: {in Strong Sad's voice, the text appears in speech bubbles above him} No, why?

{pans to the next panel of the comic; both characters are looking at a burnt brick in a baking pan that the Strong Bad-like character is holding}


{pans to the next panel of the comic; both characters are staring wide-eyed, computer sounds start playing}

GAMERJōX STRONG SAD: 3.2ghz cell processor with 3 dual-threaded cores, 1.8 TFLOPS, 256mb XDR...

GAMERJōX STRONG BAD: {beginning a short way through the previous line, and continuing simultaneously with it} Light bloom, floating point frame buffers, volumetric effects, high dynamic range rendering...

{the scene fades}

STRONG BAD: {voiceover} Oh, I wish I knew what that means.

{Cut back to Strong Bad at the Lappy}

STRONG BAD: {typing} Another approach is to just ask for input from your viewers and rip that off for content. {zoom out a bit, Strong Bad turns around to face the camera} Pfff. What a cop-out.

{New Paper comes down extremely quickly. Cut to The Cheat at Monosodium Dreams.}

STRONG BAD: {voiceover} The Cheat has one of those. He gets people to send him the weird senders' names from spam emails, {The Cheat clicks the menu for "Email" and brings up a list of names with a list of subjects} and then he makes interpretive drawings based on them! {The Cheat double clicks the name "Colliding R. Reallying"} Classics like—

{The scene changes to an undersea image in which two sharks are colliding. Swimming below them is a creature consisting of a glass dome and a propeller. Under this is the text "Colliding R. Reallying" in yellow.}

STRONG BAD: —Colliding R. Reallying!

{Cut back to The Cheat}

STRONG BAD: And— {The Cheat double clicks the name "Knowingest J. Drawbridges}"

{The scene changes to an image of a man in athletic clothing standing outside a mostly-raised drawbridge over a moat. The man has a mane and horns, and his left arm is extended down into the moat and back up to knock on the drawbridge, which has eyes, a tongue and teeth. The text "Knowingest J. Drawbridges" appears in white at the top.}

STRONG BAD: —Knowingest J. Drawbridges!

{Cut back to The Cheat, still looking at the Knowingest J. Drawbridges picture on Monosodium Dreams. Strong Bad is now with him.}

STRONG BAD: That stuff is totally messed up, The Cheat. That gunk is ill.

{cut back to Strong Bad at the Lappy}

STRONG BAD: But if cartoony or Cheaty drawings aren't your thing, break out your cracked serial numbers for 'Burn & Dodge: The Fantasy Photoshop Gradient Comic!'

{Cut to an image of a character whose head resembles Strong Bad's mask with a beard. He also has a muscular torso and is holding a buckler and sword. A creature resembling The Cheat with a pointy tail and horns is on his shoulder.}

BORGORROTH OF COOLSWORDORROTH: {appears above him in a speech bubble} Hold! Borgorroth of Coolswordorroth shimmies for no man!


{Cut to wider view; The Cheat-like creature is now behind Borgorroth of Coolswordorroth, who is holding his sword defensively in front of him. A figure in a black cloak is opposite them and holding his right hand at them}

CLOAKED FIGURE: {in Strong Bad's voice} LENS FLARE! {a lens flare appears on his hand}

BORGORROTH OF COOLSWORDORROTH: Uh, PLASTIC WRAP! {the scene becomes covered in plastic wrap Photoshop effect}

{Cut back to Strong Bad at the Lappy}

STRONG BAD: Or if you can't draw, never fear, just steal some graphics from your favorite video game. And add yet another unlicensed pixel comic to the overcrowded, overstunk landfill of web comics.

{Cut to a panel showing Stinkoman in his sprite form from Stinkoman 20X6 on green land, while the theme music from the first level plays.}

STINKOMAN: {appears in a speech bubble} Sometimes I wish I could challenge my own self.

{Pan to the next panel, in which the scene is dark and the text "ZAP!" appears in red near the top. The scene returns to normal as a second Stinkoman appears facing the first, and jumps.}

SECOND STINKOMAN: {in 1-Up's voice} I'm Stinkoman.


STRONG BAD: {voiceover} And when your pixel comic's not funny—

{Cut to the next panel, which is the same as the previous but with two red eyes with green irises added, along with various shapes and colors.}

STRONG BAD: —MS Paint your way to a non-punchline!

{The scene fades out. Cut back to Strong Bad at the Lappy.}

STRONG BAD: As terrible as this is, I suppose web comics are a better fate for video games than Saturday morning cartoons were.

{Cut to a cartoon scene with a red cube with legs, arms, eyes and a green cap; a blond boy with a shirt that says "Kid" and a surfboard; and a dog wearing sunglasses.}

KID: Ah, come on, Secret Collect! Let's go surfing inside the evil castle!

{Cut to a closeup of the dog}

DOG: Uh, dudeical!

{Cut to a closeup of Secret Collect; the scene continuously zooms in on him}

SECRET COLLECT: {exaggeratedly shuddering} Ohh, I don't know about this! Collect, collect, collect!

{Cut to a scene of a wizard with green eyes, a brown tunic, a beard, and three jewels set in his forehead looking at the previous scene in a crystal ball in a castle.}

WIZARD: Once I collect the final secret, the sweepstakes will be mine!

{Scene changes to a picture of a clay Nebulon in a kitchen; he has a speech bubble that says, "Secret Collect. will be right back...", above the speech bubble is a small picture of Secret Collect. On the bottom right of the screen is a bubble with the text "Saturday Mornideo Games".}

ANNOUNCER: Secret Collect will be right back.

{scene changes to show a smiling animated Thy Dungeonman and the text "The Animated Adventures of Thy Dungeonman".}

ANNOUNCER: And stay tuned for The Animated Adventures of Thy Dungeonman!

{Cut to a background of poorly-drawn houses, in front of which stand two characters: the text "Go North" and "Get Dagger", both in green letters and with eyes and legs.}

GET DAGGER: My cousin's coming to visit!

{Pan to the right and zoom out to show a text character Take Dagger next to Get Dagger.}

TAKE DAGGER: Hiya, guys!

{Two more green characters are seen running behind them. Cut to a scene of the text character "Dennis" chasing the text character "Ye Flask".}

DENNIS: You get back heeeeeere!

{Cut back to Strong Bad at the Lappy}

STRONG BAD: {typing} So to answer your question, Gunky, DON'T MAKE A WEB COMIC! Why can't you just make a...comic. Everyone knows that putting 'web' in front of words automatically makes them crappier. Just look what happened to 'pages,' and 'cams,' and 'logs.' And who could forget the fall of the mighty 'isode.' Ohh, so tragic.

{New Paper comes down}

[edit] Easter Eggs

He be illin'!
  • Click on "Gunkiller" after Strong Bad says his name to see a Cheat Commandos action figure named after him (spelled Gunk Iller).
  • Click on "COMIC!" at the end of the email to play Make-O Your Own Stinko, which uses sprites from Stinkoman 20X6.
  • Click on "'web' in front" at the end of the email to see a drawing of a blimp in flight above a stadium, with the words "GO LOAF!" over it. (See Real-World References for the explanation.)
  • Click on "crappier" at the end of the email to see what happened to Borgorroth of Coolswordorroth.
    CLOAKED FIGURE: OCEAN RIPPLE! {another effect is applied}
    BORGORROTH OF COOLSWORDORROTH: FIND EDGES! {another effect is applied, changing much of the color}
    CLOAKED FIGURE: SHARPEN MORE! {another effect is applied. The image is mostly incomprehensible now.}
    BORGORROTH OF COOLSWORDORROTH: Er... NUDGE! {the scene shifts a little to the left}

[edit] Fun Facts

[edit] Explanations

  • When Strong Bad says "start tableting", he is referring to a graphics tablet, which is a tool used to make digital drawings.
  • "Bricked" is slang for causing an electronic piece of equipment to no longer function.
  • "Case modding" is the act of modifying a video game console or computer chassis.
  • The highly technical terms spoken in the last panel of the college roommate comic all refer to technical specifications of the Sony PlayStation 3 video game console.
    • "Light bloom", "floating point frame buffers", "volumetric effects", and "high dynamic range rendering" all refer to various 3D rendering techniques employed by modern game consoles and computer video cards to create realistic environments within games.
    • The PS3's Cell microprocessor contains ten individual cores, eight of which can be used simultaneously by the console for different purposes.
    • "TFLOPS" stands for "Tera-FLoating point Operations Per Second" and is a measure of the speed of a computer in mathematical operations (tera being a prefix representing 10 to the 12th power, i.e. one trillion). The PS3's RSX GPU was announced as performing at 1.8 TFLOPS.
    • "XDR" stands for eXtreme Data-Rate Dynamic RAM, a type of memory used in the PS3.
  • "Lens Flare", "Plastic Wrap", "Ocean Ripple", "Find Edges," and "Sharpen More" are all filters that one can use in Adobe Photoshop. "Nudge" is the term used to describe the act of moving an object on the image canvas.
  • Strong Bad mentioning cracked serial numbers is a reference to how many people illegally obtain Photoshop by downloading a cracked serial number online.

[edit] Trivia

"That's funny. I gave it negative 2."
"Knowingest J. Drawbridges."
  • A year prior to this email, in an interview with a webcomics magazine, Matt Chapman hinted that "We thought about having Strong Sad make one of those NES sprite comics using the sprites from our Stinkoman game". Unlike Strong Bad, he expresses appreciation for webcomics and considers many "cooler and funnier" than print comics.
  • The TV Time Toons Menu preview features a different Gamerjōx comic than featured in the email.
    GAMERJōX STRONG BAD: EGM2 gave the new Peasant's Quest game 4 out of 10!!
    GAMERJōX STRONG SAD: That's funny. I gave it negative 2.
    GAMERJōX STRONG BAD: Don't you think that's a bit harsh?
    GAMERJōX STRONG SAD: I think EGM2 is a bit nonexistent for 10 years.
  • The clay Nebulon is in the paper Reynold's Apartment playset.
  • The Cheat's email list reads:
Sender Subj.
Knowingest J. Drawbridges **SPAM**
Colliding R. Reallying **SPAM**
Hooray4dolphins PhramC7acy
Public D. Themackinest **SPAM**
Lowpoint K. Festivals ****SPAAAM****
Tanktop H. Gravity **SPAM**
Pressured Q. Kibbles **SPAM**
Lamppost L. Simth Hey Bro...
Lem Sportsinterviews $$$PAM!!!
Brash R. HiMom **SPAM**
Freshfruit P. Cacophony **SPAM**
  • Since New Paper came down in a separate room from Strong Bad in the two previous emails, pizza joint and slumber party, this email would mark the first time Strong Bad does not take the opportunity to insult it.
  • The summary on the Podstar Runner RSS feed reads, "Strong Bad gives suggestions for making a web comic."

[edit] Remarks

  • In video games, Secret Collect.'s protagonist is supposed to represent Strong Bad. In the Saturday morning cartoon, the character is entirely different from Strong Bad.
  • The dog in the Secret Collect. cartoon gives the Shaka sign, a Hawaiian gesture often associated with surfing culture.

[edit] Goofs

  • During the computer scene when Strong Bad mentions the fantasy Photoshop gradient comic, clicking outside the Lappy's screen results in the same ripple effect.

[edit] Inside References

[edit] Real-World References

  • The email preview refers to EGM2, a spinoff of video game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM2 was launched in 1994, rebranded to Expert Gamer in 1998, renamed again to GameNOW in 2001, and finally cancelled in January 2004.
  • The description of the action figure, "He be illin'!" is a reference to the song "You Be Illin'" by Run-DMC.
  • "PhramC7acy", which appears as an email sent by hooray4dolphins, is a subject line from an actual spam that was circulating in heavy volume around the time this email was produced. It advertised discount prescription drugs offered by many southeast Asia-based "pharmacies," and the subject had two random letters inserted where the C and 7 appear here to avoid detection by spam filters. (See also Inside References)
  • The college roommate webcomic is a reference to the many webcomics that discuss video games and related culture; in particular, Gamerjōx Strong Bad resembles Gabe from Penny Arcade.
  • The unlicensed pixel webcomic refers to a genre known as sprite comics, which reuse sprite-based graphics from video games to create comic art, such as 8-bit Theater.
  • The Cheat's web comic based on spam mailers' names is a reference to Spamusement!.
  • The Secret Collect Saturday morning cartoon is a reference to various cartoons produced in the 1980s that were based on early video games, such as Pac-Man, and "Saturday Mornideo Games" is a reference to cartoons series based on sets of video games, such as Saturday Supercade and Captain N: The Game Master. Due to the simplicity of games of the era, many of these cartoons introduced new characters and plot lines to keep the material interesting to viewers.
  • The clickable Easter egg text "Web in Front" is the title of a song by indie rock band Archers of Loaf.
  • Secret Collect resembles the classic design of Mr. Strong from the Mr. Men series.
  • The stop-motion style "We'll be right back" scene resembles the "After these messages" claymation toons that played on ABC.

[edit] DVD Version

  • Whereas the Podstar Runner version of this toon had the text of the first New Paper altered in such a way as to deprive it of any relevance to Strong Bad's criticism of comics that use fan-submitted material, the first New Paper's appearance on the DVD returns to the original message of emailing Strong Bad.
  • The DVD version features hidden creators' commentary. To access it, switch the DVD player's audio language selection while watching.

[edit] Commentary Transcript

(Commentary by: Matt Chapman, Mike Chapman)

MATT: Hey, Mike?

MIKE: Yeah?

MATT: Do you make a web comic? {Mike starts to say something, but is cut off} With your Flashes?

MIKE: {laughs} What program do you use to make your F—What Flash program do you use to make your Flashes?

MATT: {mumbling} I dunno...

MIKE: We used to get people emailing all the time asking what program we use to make our Flash animations.

MATT: Yeah.

MIKE: Umm... there, I thought maybe we used Toon Boom. {chuckles} So... when we were doing—I was doing research for this email...

MATT: Yeah.

MIKE: It was shocking how much web comics all do really look the same.

MATT: Yeah!

MIKE: and they all look like that, uh, PvP... and, um...

MATT: Penny Arcade.

MIKE: {simultaneously} Penny Arcade.

MATT: Yeah.

{pause until the Gamerjox comic is shown}

MIKE: That was surprising.

MATT: Look at that li— Strong Sad looks like, uh, Curly... Joe DeRita. {Mike laughs} Not just Curly.

MIKE: Yeah.

MATT: Curly Joe Derita. {pause} I had to do a lot of research on this. I knew what those kinds of words were. {Mike laughs} I knew what a teraflop was, I think. But I had to look up— I just looked up specs for the PlayStation 3, I think— {Mike laughs} that's what all of those were.

{pause until after Strong Bad says "What a cop-out." and New Paper comes down}

MATT: Ding! That's the equivalent of the Cheap as Free logo coming up in a {Mike laughs} Cheat Commandos cartoon.

MIKE: {simultaneously} Cheat Commandos.

MATT: So this is something, these— several of these are real... uh, spam email senders—

MIKE: {interjecting when "Colliding R. Reallying" is shown} That's one.

MATT: —Mike and I were keeping track of for a while. {pause} Those, both drawings just came out way more, like, um, uh, explodingdog. Like, closer to explodingdog than I... wanted them to, yeah.

MIKE: {simultaneously, laughing} Than you... anticipated.

MATT: I mean, I was, you know, clearly that was being a parody, but it was a little closer than I wanted it to. {about the Burn & Dodge comic} And this is a lot of these.

MIKE: Mm-hmm.

MATT: I've seen some—some website was doing a, uh, this kinda thing. They had a lens flare quote on some—like, it was showing a screenshot of some... like, MMORPG-type game.

MIKE: Uh-huh.

MATT: And it had lens flare, and I didn't know—I was like, "Was that a reference to us?" Or was that, like, something that's been around for longer?

MIKE: {mumbles}


MATT: This turned into a great little feature.

MIKE: Mm-hmm. What's it called?

MATT: It's called Make-O Your... Make-O Your Own Stinko. Something like that.

MIKE: {simultaneously} Make-O Your Own Stinko. Yeah.

'{both laugh}

MATT: MS Paint. I—d—it's amazing to me that—I just assumed that with the release of Vista that Microsoft would've stepped up their on-board...

MIKE: Is it still the same?

MATT: ...paint pro—Oh yeah. Exactly. I mean, that was made with it. I think it was made on my computer. {Mike laughs} So Mike and I really shoehorned in this Saturday morning video game-themed cartoon into this email. It has nothing to do with web comics.

MIKE: But I'm glad we did.

MATT: Yeah, no, it was good.

MIKE: Because that—because that...

MATT: {mumbles}

MIKE: ...8-year-old kid from the Secret Collect comic had some really hairy legs.

MATT: {laughs} "Dudeical!" {pause} The most boring... boring cartoon ever. I like that the advertising is extremely misleading for the Thy Dungeonman cartoon, shows this...

MIKE: {simultaneously} Yeah, it shows this guy's... yeah.

MATT: ...buff surfer dude with a Viking helmet on. We should've just taken that picture of you with your shirt off, like we did for Thy Dungeonman 3.

MIKE: Hmm, that was an ugly picture. {laughs}

MATT: {laughs} Exactly.


MATT: Aww, webisodes. It truly is tragic!

MIKE: Mm-hmm.

[edit] Fun Facts

  • Toon Boom is an animation company that makes software similar to those that Adobe (and previously Macromedia) makes.
  • Several webcomics are mentioned:
    • PvP ("Player vs Player"), written and drawn by Scott Kurtz and cowritten by Dylan Meconis, chronicles the adventures of a fictional video game publisher.
    • Penny Arcade, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik, focuses on video games and video game culture from the perspective of characters Gabe and Tycho.
    • explodingdog was a website where artist Sam Brown would illustrate simple phrases submitted by readers.
  • Joe DeRita was a member of The Three Stooges, portraying "Curly Joe".
  • Though Paint was not significantly updated for Windows Vista, the subsequent Windows 7 version would see the software more dramatically updated and modernized.

[edit] External Links

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